$500 Budget laptop: Lenovo vs HP/(other company)

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Jul 30, 2012
I figured I'd ask you guys since I've been out of the laptop buying loop for awhile. I am looking to find a cheap but dependable laptop for a family friend who's pretty much oblivious to tech. The main thing I'm concerned about is finding a dependable/reliable laptop from a company that has decent customer service.

1. What is your budget?
$500ish ($600 cap)

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
14"-15". Don't need an ultrabook but portability is a major factor.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Any screen resolution will do.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

5. How much battery life do you need?
The more, the merrier.

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
No games.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Netflix/Hulu streaming. Office. internet surfing. Will be used mostly for class lectures and in a hospital environment (thus durability and mobility are a huge factor)

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
500GB preferable. 320GB min.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Newegg.com, Amazon.com, manufacturer's websites.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
3-4 years ideally. I know $500 may not leave much for future-proofing so it's probably more along the lines of 2-3.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Not mandatory, already have an external.

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.

This is where I'm not sure where to go. I've read HP's still kinda crappy and that the top brands at the moment are Asus, Lenovo, Apple (true?). Again, I'm looking for a good, reliable brand/model with decent customer service.
I would like to avoid Dell, HP/Compaq, Acer (not sure if they're still a bad company). Dell has scarred her for life so that's out of the question.

13. What country do you live in?
United States

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

I'm looking at a lot of the Lenovos as they seem to have decent build quality and are ranked pretty high in customer service (I could be proven wrong though). Since she's not a gamer and only needs basic specs I'm debating between something like a Lenovo ThinkPad Edge

or an HP Probook

Any feedback on either of these types of models or something similar would be great.


Jul 28, 2012

I have used Hp alot, I am pretty happy. My sig other has a AMD based DV7 and I have an AMD based G7. His laptop is nice and pretty with a metal finihsh, and up grades like finger print reader and cool separkers. The G7 (any of HP's G) series are their budget, just a laptop, meaning no aluminim finish, no cool speakers and no cool fingerprint reader. But they are still pretty decent little laptops.

I'd Recommed an Hp: g6t-2000 series CTO
Color sparkling black edit
Operating system Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit edit
Processor 2nd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-2350M Processor (2.3 GHz, 3MB L3 Cache)
Graphics card 1GB AMD Radeon(TM) HD 7670M Discrete-Class Graphics
Memory FREE Upgrade to 6GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
Hard drive FREE Upgrade to 500GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
Security software No additional security software edit
Primary battery 6-Cell Lithium-Ion Battery - Up to 6.75 hours of battery life +++
Display 15.6" diagonal High Definition HP BrightView LED Display (1366x768)
Primary optical drive SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
Personalization HP Webcam with Integrated Digital Microphone
Networking 802.11b/g/n WLAN
Keyboard Standard Keyboard (black)

You'll notice that for $50 I added a 7670M amd Video card, important espically is you want to maybe play blurays. As it is configured now it costs $530. You can also upgrade the processor too for another $75 to a 5-2450M .

Just my thoughts


Jul 30, 2012
A laptop can hold its 3 years, especially if you don't hit it and keep it cool, even if its one of the cheapest

I haven't made my research on this segment of laptops yet (not-for-gaming-lot-of-battery), but good options are
1. The HP Probook, 4330 or 4535 - pretty much the same, the 4330 is intel based
and the 4535 is AMD based

Good build quality, Very good keyboard, average screen (which is good, because it's not below average like many other 500$ laptops), Very good heat and noise handling.

2. Why not something like a high quality netbook? weight is low, battery is good, some have good screens. ?

3. Wouldn't take the E420 / E520 / E525 - bad build quality compared to the other alternatives and even worse display. I'd take a U400 however:

Thanks for the quick reply. One thing I remember about the Lenovo U400 is that it seems that it's plagued with a finicky trackpad and wasn't sure if this was common in a lot of Lenovo's lineup or just that particular series. I remember my old boss had a Lenovo (not sure if it was a U400) having a very similar issue.

I've tried a Lenovo netbook and to be honest they seemed to be underpowered and rather small (she will still be using this computer for extended amounts of time writing papers/presentations) and thought 14" is a good balance between portability and power.

I was under the assumption HP was still kind of subpar (this laptop's replacing a Compaq craptop). Is there anything in particular that stands out with the Lenovo Edge series since you mentioned bad build quality?
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